Highland games preview at Cornwall’s 1784 Celebration

Massed bands at the Glengarry Highland Games.

THE COUNTIES, Ontario - After three long years, everyone is eagerly waiting for this year’s edition of the Glengarry Highland Games on July 29-30.

For those who can’t wait that long, there will be an opportunity to have a little taste of all things Scottish on May 21 and 22 as part of Cornwall’s 1784 Celebration. Along with many of the heritage groups from throughout SDG, the games will be presenting displays of traditional events along with an exciting mini-tattoo on Saturday evening.

Starting Saturday morning, May 21 and continuing through to Sunday afternoon, join the Games at Lamoureux Park to enjoy fiddling, gaelic, heavyweight, and broadsword demonstrations. Highland dancers take to the stage Saturday morning to show off their talents while fiddler Ashley MacLeod and family will be a highlight both days. Sunday morning will see a demonstration of the steel broadsword and the single stick, a popular attraction at the games which this year will include young people as well as adults. Harpists will entertain and tell a bit about the story of this ancient instrument. It’s a great opportunity also to learn more about the games history and the Scottish clans, and for those looking for some games gear, souvenirs will be sold on Saturday at the games booth.

Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m., the Taste of the Games Tattoo begins with the Glengarry Pipe Band, the SDG Highlanders Pipe Band, and the Quigley Highlanders Pipes and Drums taking to the field and the sounds of pipe bands will finally be heard again in SDG. Next up will be the renowned MacCulloch Dancers performing routines that they have showcased around the world. Then the entertainment starts on stage with the young MacLeod Fiddlers filling the night air with their lively tunes. A real treat is in store for everyone when Denis Carr and Rob Taylor of the Brigadoons play their most requested Glengarry tunes.

The Celtic music kicks up a notch as the well-known and a games favourite Hadrian’s Wall takes to the stage to keep everyone tapping and clapping along. The tattoo closes with the pipe bands returning for a poignant closing to the evening’s show.

Come early on Saturday and spend the day exploring the many displays in the Heritage Village with groups such as the Dunvegan Pioneer Museum, the Nor’Westers Museum, the Bishop’s House as well as others from all parts of our region. Re-enactors from New York State, Ontario and Quebec will be encamped with their families on the site and provide us with a look at early life in Cornwall and Ontario. While at the celebration, don’t forget to visit the Cornwall Community Museum itself and learn a bit more about Cornwall’s past.

Enjoy the vendors around the park or wander down Pitt Street for some shopping or a bite to eat before coming back to enjoy the tattoo and concert. Bring your chairs or blankets to make yourself comfortable while watching the show. The early birds will be able to grab one of the benches located in front of the bandshell for a great close-up viewing spot.

The celebration extends from May 20-22. Friday offers an exciting lineup of French-Canadian culture wrapped up with a lively concert at the end of the day. Saturday highlights the Scottish culture. On Sunday, groups of entertainers and storytellers from Akwesasne share highlights of their rich culture. The Heritage Village will be open Saturday and Sunday and the military re-enactors will be on-site all three days giving an insight into life and battles two hundred years ago.

Celebration 1784 will be a jam-packed three days that depict Cornwall’s storied history and the coming of the United Empire Loyalists. It brings together the three cultures of the French-Canadian, Loyalists (British, Scottish, and Palatines) and Mohawk who played major parts in our early history. This is one festival to put on your calendar and best of all, the entire celebration event is entirely free to attend. All events are located in Lamoureux Park, Cornwall. Parking is available in the Cornwall Civic Complex parking Lot and also on city streets around the park.

For up-to-date information, check out the celebration event page on Facebook at the link: https://fb.me/e/1MpEfsX6M  and follow the hashtag #Cornwall1784.